Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bippity Boppity Boo!

There is a wizardy vibe to sewing.  There is something magical about putting fabric, patterns, notions all mixed together and coming up with a useful/decorative 'thing'.  
There is something positively, benevolently, magical about Upcycling.  

I have dabbled in this mystical craft for some time now.  I have loved cutting the heck out of a holey orange sweater just to make a play carrot for Miss Viv.  I have hacked into a wool blazer to get the purse that waited within.

But this time, I outdid my crafty little self.  Humility (ahem) aside, I had some help.  I had the invitation from Crispina ffrench at Alchemy Initiative, and fellow contributor to the book Mend it Better, to create a wearable fashion item for her event at Alchemy this coming Earth Day.  I had Younger Son's favorite shirt that he had just donated to my 'I Wanna Be Something Else' stack of old, used up, no longer wanted pieces of clothing that had too good of bones to totally discard.  I had the design influence of Baby Girl.  I had the referral to a Pinterest pin from Eldest/Admin for this crazy good blog, to help me wrap my mind around this plunge into designing a woman's light weight sweater from a man's V neck pullover.

I told you it was magical.

Here is YS's fav shirt.  Or it was.  He just laughs when he sees it in it's reconstruction.  I cut out the little piece that laid between the v neck.  Didn't need it.  I found a pattern for a knit top that I have made three times; I know it fits and it has simple lines.  I cut the sleeves to a tidy three quarter length. I started cutting strips from the length, YS, after all, is a 2XL.  These strips, I knew had to be ruffles.  I knew this from another blog that Pretend Daughter Kris shared with me.  You can see what a group effort this has been.  That's been part of the Magic....

Believe when I say that I had no completed vision when this started.  It seemed that every time I cut into the shirt, a new aspect of it's transformation revealed itself to me.  Truly.

Part of the reason that YS had to ditch his favorite shirt, was a small hole that had formed right smack in the front and center of the shirt.  Simple for me!  I just cut the shirt up the front, cardigan style and did away with the scourge.  Wanting to make the style a bit softer, I rounded the corners so the line of the ruffles, (now around the neck) could be accentuated.  Having ribbing around the v, made a perfect backing for the ruffle. And because it was a knit shirt, edges do not have to be finished.  Lovely.

Using the pattern pieces from the top pattern, the sleeves and the front, I was able to cut out, from this ample top, the right amount for the new sleeves and to carve out just the right shape for the armholes.

I was concerned about the color.  Good, manly color, but a trifle make it as a girly ruffly re do.  It was then that BG injected her opinion of putting in some color in the seam in the sleeve.  The next morning, I was looking for a light weight 3/4 length (I try to avoid revealing the 'flap' that comes with regular T shirt wearing.  You know what I mean.) T shirt in my drawer and since Summer clothes have not yet been unpacked, I had to settle on my beat up ol green shirt that had definitely seen better days.  The few hours I wore the shirt, I kept thinking, 'this color green will go wonderfully with the brown!'  Bingo!  Double Upcycle!!  Score one for the old lady!!

As I was cutting up the old T shirt into long strips, I realized that trimming the New Girly Sweater with the Green T shirt would be absolutely great!  So I did it!  And it was!  And once again, I did the happy designing dance!

The trim down the front did away with the question as to how to hold the cardigan together; I simply elongated the trim pieces into long ties.  Simple bow - little ruffles - curved bottom: = feminine fun.

As you can see, I got a bit carried away with the green trim.  But I like it; a little funk with the feminine ain't bad.

Thought you'd like to see YS wearing his fav shirt before mama got to it with her scissors and green accent t shirt material....Baby Girl's smiling because she probably knows that someday she'll own YS clothes- transmogrified by mama and her posse.....!

So it's off to the Earth Day Fashion Show Dance Party and Clothes Swap in Pittsfield Massachusetts for you, my fun, feminine, funky upcycled friend!!  

Enjoy your new life!!!


  1. I absolutely LOVE how it turned out!!!! and it looks absolutely faabulous on you as well!!! way to go mama!!!!! :)!!!!!

  2. As Gomer Pyle used to say, and my first thought when I saw your new design ... "SHAZAM"!
    You keep that stuff up and we are going to be shipping you off to book signings and photo shoots featuring all your upcycled designs! :)

  3. GREAT JOB! I love how it turned out... I think you might actually have to make one for yourself... it looks awesome on you!!!!


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